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INTERVIEW: Executive Director Julienne Penza-Boone Talks WHBPAC Presenting A Drive-In Concert Headlined By Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes

T.J. Clemente

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes is headlining a duo of WHBPAC drive-in concerts. (Courtesy Photos)

Julienne Penza-Boone, the Executive Director of Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC), is excited about the upcoming WHBPAC Drive-In-Benefit Concerts featuring Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes on Sunday, July 25 at 7 p.m., with a second show at 9:30 p.m. The event is to be held on the Great Lawn in Westhampton Beach.

During our chat, Penza-Boone displayed the positive powerful energy and skills she brings to both WHBPAC and the whole East End. Raised in Foxborough, Massachusetts, she now resides in Center Moriches and enjoys taking the back roads to work and loves all things East End of Long Island.

"When everything [the pandemic] happened in March, we had to cancel all of our spring shows and then all of our summer and fall shows. We immediately shifted to virtual offerings and that made sense at the time, it was wonderful and we engaged a lot of people, and at the time the weather was colder," Penza-Boone said. "People were sort of stuck in their homes."

She continued, "What we quickly realized as the opening began and the weather became warmer was that people were really looking to get out of their houses. Our mantra through all of this was how would we deliver on our mission to provide high quality live performing art experiences without packing 425 people into our theater shoulder to shoulder. We began thinking how can we do that?"

The result was to follow the lead of the idea of drive-in movies and present a live drive-in concert. Penza-Boone and the WHBPAC team reached to see, "Who was available for something like this and Southside Johnny, who we have had before and is very popular, is actually doing live drive-in concerts in New Jersey with a huge positive response so we thought let's give it a try!"

She explained, "The music will come into each car live, we will be broadcasting directly from the sound board. You will be able to sit in your car, tune into a specific FM station and you will be able to hear the show in your car. There will not be loud speaker sound throughout the lawn."

The event will be held rain or shine. "General Admission for both shows is $275 or $225 and there are two sections, A & B. Each ticket permits one vehicle," Penza-Boone said. "We will have sanitizing stations placed near the restrooms. All WHBPAC Staff, Volunteers, and Vendors will have face coverings. Limited food trucks will be available on premise. Guests are required to wear face coverings when they are away from the immediate area of their vehicle. When outside of your vehicle, please be respectful others. Stay at least 6 feet away from others."

The lawn will open 45 minutes prior to the concert start time. All vehicles will be spaced 6 feet apart minimum, at the direction of parking staff. Cars in General Admission Section A will be between 25 to 40 feet from the stage. Cars in General Admission Section B will be between 45 to 60 feet from the stage.

The Great Lawn is located at 35 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. For more information, call 631-288-1500 or visit whbpac.org.

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